Washington State Department of Agriculture

A new Asian Giant Hornets nest was eradicated this Thursday in northwest Washington.

Asian Giant Hornets are an invasive species that can destroy a honey bee nest in a matter of hours. Nests have been found in Canada, and today’s discovery was the fourth found in Washington.

Karla Salp, a spokesperson for the Washington state Department of Agriculture, said one queen, several worker bees and larva were found in the nest.

“We were able to eradicate the nest before they produced any reproductives that could go on to start new nests,” she said.

Courtesy of Gizmo

Today on Inland Journal, people and companies are busy making personal protective equipment for people who are exposed to the coronavirus. We talk with the director of one Coeur d’Alene company.

We talk with a hospital CEO in Omak about the struggles there and what his facility is doing to stay afloat.  A Spokane dentist tells us how practices have changed recently

We’ll meet Washington’s coronavirus czar and learn how the virus is affecting spring planting for farmers in central Washington.

Those stories and more on Inland Journal, after the news.

Share Farm Aims To Deliver Local Produce To Your Door

Jul 11, 2019
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

If you’re a Spokane resident, you can find a company that will take your grocery order and deliver the goods right to your door. Now there’s a small Spokane firm there will do the same, but focused on produce grown on local farms.

Share Farm is a company founded by two Whitworth graduates, Vincent Peak and Eric Kobe.

Inland Journal, March 15, 2019: Outdoor Burning

Mar 15, 2019
U.S. Forest Service

Friday on the Inland Journal podcast, as temperatures slowly warm back to the seasonal norms, people can start finally to think about spring. The time for outdoor burning is still at least a few weeks away here in our area, but in southern Idaho, regulators expect to allow farmers to torch their fields as early as this week. We’ll talk with Mark Boyle, the head of the Idaho state smoke management program, about field burning.

Barbetorte/Wikimedia Co

The new farm bill, signed Thursday, will give a tremendous boost to the hemp industry in Washington, and across the nation.

The bill legalizes the production of hemp in the U.S., after years of being illegal. The plant was lumped in with its drug containing cousin, marijuana.

Northwest Public Broadcasting

Here are excerpts from Wednesday evening's debate at Walla Walla Community College, sponsored by the Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce and Northwest Public Broadcasting.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Tariffs, trade and regulations were on the minds of agribusiness representatives who had breakfast Monday in Spokane with federal Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. It was the first stop of a three-stop tour hosted by Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers that also included Colfax and Pullman.

Protect Mill Canyon Watershed

Some residents of Mill Canyon, northeast of Davenport, Washington, are relieved to find their efforts to stop a local farmer from applying sewage sludge to his land have been mostly successful.

Washington State University

In Stevens County in northeast Washington, there’s an effort brewing to build a more robust local food industry.

“And especially with the world, at least Washington state and the whole West Coast, moving toward a trend in local food, it seems like now is a really great time to sort of reestablish our area as a major supplier to Spokane,” said Nils Johnson, extension coordinator in the WSU Extension Office in Stevens County. He’s also part of the Community Agriculture Development Center in Colville.

Lesley L. via Flickr creative commons

The Colville Confederated Tribes are trying a bold experiment this year, growing their first hemp crop.

They have planted sixty acres in hemp this summer, a project that has taken some time to come to fruition. The crop was planted late in the season as it took some time to legally procure the seeds, which eventually came from the Czech Republic.

Sleepy Claus via Flickr

This year’s wheat crop nationwide is the smallest it has been in decades. On a national scale, the number of acres planted in wheat total 45.7 million acres, the lowest acreage since 1919. That’s after the 2016 harvest that was the least profitable in 30 years.

Glen Squires is with the Washington Grain Commission, “From 2012, for example the price of soft white wheat was $8.00 at the export point, and right now it’s $5.00, last year the average price was $4.20.”

"That's the old industry," Tom Auvil tells me, nodding toward an apple orchard that we're driving past. We're near Wenatchee, Wash., which calls itself the Apple Capital of the World. Auvil grew up in the apple business, and until recently, he was a horticulturist for the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission.

Drones Aren't Just for Playing

Mar 23, 2017
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Sounds like a bunch of angry insects, doesn’t it?

These are three small drones, chasing each other around an enclosed area in a Spokane Convention Center ballroom. The venue was a conference held Tuesday, sponsored by the Spokane Association of Realtors.

Colin Curwen-McAdams opens the door to his greenhouse in Mt. Vernon, Wash., and a rush of warm air pours out.

"Basically, it's summer all year long here," he jokes.

Curwen-McAdams, a PhD student at Washington State University, and WSU professor Steven Jones have developed a new species: a cross between wheat and its wild cousin, wheat grass. They call it Salish Blue. Their goal was to make something that's like wheat but grows back year after year.

New Forests Start in Coeur d' Alene Nursery

Aug 18, 2015
USDA Forest Nursery

A 200-acre seed and plant nursery in Coeur d'Alene may play a key part in a new federal seed program to help fire-ravaged land recover.

Compound May Cut Down on Cow Belches

Aug 4, 2015
Cattle Cows
Flickr - Chelsea Nesvig

Here's a significant world-wide problem you probably never thought much about - cow belches. Cattle and other livestock are enormous producers of methane, one of the worst elements of global greenhouse gasses. 

Goats Getting Comfortable in Spokane Backyards

Jun 9, 2015
Paige Browning / Spokane Public Radio

More than 30 people in the city of Spokane are certified to raise goats, after the city council approved an urban farming rule one year ago. City-dwellers are raising chickens and roosters, too, and code enforcers say so far, so good.

Idaho farmers who depend on irrigation fear they're facing shortages, summer shut-offs and possible legal battles because of paltry snowpacks, scant rainfall and dry soil. A new report by the Natural Resources Conservation Service paints a gloomy outlook for agricultural interests, the primary economic drivers in central, southern and southeastern Idaho.

Farmers who depend on irrigation in the arid central Washington region are escalating a fight over increasingly  scarce water supplies. A group of farmers called the Columbia-Snake River Irrigators Association has filed suit against the US Bureau of Reclamation.

State Legislators Focus on Weeds and Bees

Mar 16, 2015
USGS: Elizabeth A. Sellers / USGS

Washington State lawmakers want to know if they can create a win-win deal in the battle against noxious weeds - that is to give honeybees - and the crops that depend on them - a helping hand while whacking aggressive weeds.

Washington bee keepers, faced with sudden and puzzling losses of entire colonies of the little pollinators, have asked state officials to to modify their unrestricted warfare against noxious weeds. That's because some varieties of voracious weeds are also pollen and nectar-rich, prime foraging plants for bees.

An official from the U-S Department of Agriculture paid a visit to the Spokane area Thursday, and she brought hopeful news about increased exports from our region. Agriculture Deputy Undersecretary for Farm and Foreign agricultural services, Alexis Taylor, toured the Spokane Seed company.

A Western Oregon mail order company has begun selling what might become the No. 1 conversation starter of Northwest garden parties this summer.

Get ready to shell out more money for eggs. Some Northwest stores are warning of higher egg prices as new regulations on hen houses take effect in California next month.

'They're All Perishable': Idaho Farm Products Languish At Ports

Dec 22, 2014

Farmers in Idaho say hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of beef, potatoes, apples, cheese and other products are languishing in storage because of problems at West Coast ports.

The discovery of avian flu in chickens and turkeys in British Columbia is prompting Washington state officials to take steps to protect against the spread of the virus. An outbreak of avian flu in British Columbia's Fraser valley has resulted in seven countries, including the US, putting trade restrictions on imports of poultry products.

An arctic air mass has swept into the Northwest. Cold air and snow are expected from central Washington through central Oregon and even into Idaho’s central Panhandle.

GMO Idaho Spud Wins US Approval

Nov 10, 2014
courtesy of the Idaho Potato Commission

The US Department of Agriculture has quietly approved a genetically engineered food staple at the core of Idaho agriculture - the common spud. The J.R. Simplot company, based in Boise, has won approval for commercial planting of potatoes that are more resistant to bruising, and which produce less of a chemical called acrylamide when the potatoes are fried.

Both factors are important to Simplot - and to McDonald's - because Simplot is a major supplier of frozen French fries to the restaurant chain.

Ideas Sought for State-Owned Railroad

Oct 27, 2014

The State of Washington is asking eastern Washingtonians to do some brainstorming about how to run its railroad. The state Department of Transportation is not just about roads and bridges and traffic cameras.

Since 2007, the state has owned nearly 300 miles of track in eastern Washington, most of it sloughed off by big railroads as they consolidated and got rid of unprofitable branches. But the lines were important to grain growers - thousands of them - to get their crops to market.

Apples May Touch Off Cross-Border Food Fight

Oct 13, 2014

A new food fight is brewing across the US-Canadian border. This one involves apples - not rotten ones, but non-browning ones. A Canadian grower on Lake Okanagan, just north of the border, is asking for U-S regulatory approval to sell its new non-browning apple called the Arctic Apple.

Okanagan Specialty Fruits president Neal Carter said by shutting down an enzyme which causes browning when an apple's cells are damaged - by cutting, for example, he can market apples that won't turn brown and be more quickly tossed out.